Hi, I’m Sam. I’m a writer, researcher, and communications/social impact strategist with over a decade of experience working in the tech sector, primarily with startups/social enterprises and nonprofits. Now, I work at the intersection of tech, development, media, and policy to create/transform/and support innovations and ecosystems that make the world better for everyone. I love places, and I love ideas – their future, their connectivity, their cultures. I think about how places and ideas develop and how people create, experience, and are influenced by them.

Currently, I’m based in St. Petersburg, Florida, back in the US after four years abroad. Before St Pete, I lived in the Boston suburbs (hometown), Miami, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Cambridge, England. I’ve traveled to and/or worked with organizations across the U.S., South America, Europe, and Africa. I’m an alumna of the London School of Economics and Political Science (MSc Local Economic Development), the University of Miami (BS Journalism and International Studies), and the original Boston Startup School (Product Development).

I made this blog for journalism class when I was student in 2009… since then, it has evolved into my most personal record of my life.

Feel free to say hello :) – Sam


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Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
-C.P. Cavafy


  1. Etienne Mangonaux

    Hi Sam, my name is Etienne, I’m from France but I live in Canada. I have been searching for reviews about La mariposa in Nicaragua and somehow came along your blog. Could you give me your feedback? Would you recommend the school? I’m thinking about staying for 2 weeks, do you think it’s too much? It’s a bit isolated so I’m wondering if there are enough things to experience around.
    Also, what kind of people study there? I have seen other reviews and people seem quite old, Were you comfortable as a young solo traveler?

    Thanks a lot for your help! And have a great day!

    Greetings from Montreal,



    • Hi Etienne,

      Sorry for the delay! I’ve been spending the holidays with my family and digitally detoxing to end the year. I personally really liked Mariposa a lot – it was very simple (definitely not a luxury hotel!), but the school and the people were wonderful. I had never studied Spanish prior to arriving, but they had me DREAMING in Spanish by the end of the week. It’s VERY intense, and sometimes my head hurt from being thrown into so much so quickly, but in the end, it was worth it. I stayed for 10 days, but most people there were staying for 4-6 weeks. I think 2 weeks is probably the perfect amount – you have enough time to really get settled and take advantage of all the awesome trips, but you don’t feel like you’re overdoing it. It may be isolated, but there is PLENTY to do. They run trips every single day. If anything, you’ll feel like there are too many things. The trip schedule is set before you get there, BUT if there is something you want to do that isn’t scheduled for a day you are there, you can get them to add it to the schedule as long as you get a certain amount of people to sign up (I think 6?). For example, I really wanted to go to the volcano, but it wasn’t on the schedule until the week after I left, so I was able to get it added to the schedule (which was totally worth it! My favorite part of the trip by far).

      As far as people, it really was an extreme mix, but for me, that made it extra great. People come and go every day. When I was there, there was a woman from England with her two toddlers and their teenage nanny, a mid-twenties Canadian bird watcher, an elderly couple from Ireland, a law student from Texas, a thirty year old from Virginia, an older man who spent his life traveling the world, a dad and his college-aged daughter… I mean honestly, you had people of EVERY age and background. But as weird as it might sound, we all meshed instantly. Everyone was really friendly. I showed up totally alone and not knowing anyone, but I never ever felt alone.

      And as far as solo travel goes: yes and no. I had moments where I was totally FREAKING out (like getting picked up at the airport at midnight by someone who couldn’t speak any English in a giant white van) – but then at the end of the day, I was fine. I think it was actually a great place to go alone, just because of how structured the program was. Every day, I woke up, had group breakfast, spent 4+ hours in Spanish class, had a break, participated in the day’s activity. You’re alone, but you never really feel like it.

      Email me if you have any more questions or want to chat more! It’s samantha.flanagan87 [at] gmail. Again, so sorry for the delay getting back to you. Good luck with your decision, and let me know if you end up going or not!



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